As I read this week’s Torah portion, I couldn’t help but ponder how God uses people, places, and circumstances to make Himself known. Thus far, we’ve seen how God used Joseph to bless Egypt, his family, the remaining Israelite families, as well as the surrounding nations when he wisely and accurately interpreted Pharaoh’s peculiar dreams regarding an upcoming famine. Through those harrowing, but victorious circumstances, God did many wondrous things, but through it all, He primarily made His awesomeness known.
In between the pages of Exodus, we see God repeating similar patterns as He longs to make Himself known not just to His people of Israel, but to the surrounding nations as well. Instead of blessing Egypt though as He did in Joseph’s day, He is using Moses and Aaron, to curse Egypt. The curses though are simply a result of Pharaoh’s rebellion upon God demanding Pharaoh let the Israelites go free from captivity. Each time a curse, also known as a plague, encamps the Egyptians as a result of their leader’s poor choices, Pharaoh repents, Moses intercedes on Pharaoh’s behalf, and God graciously forgives and therefore, rescinds the curse. This wrestling match of good versus evil has many rounds. Fascinatingly enough, God Himself is creating this match as Scripture reveals GOD hardens Pharaoh’s heart over and over again (Exodus 7:22-23; 8:15,19,32; 9:7,12,35; 10:20,27). But why?
In order to contemplate and understand further as to why God is creating these precarious circumstances between the oppressive leader of Egypt and His people, Exodus 11:9 provides a clue.
“But the LORD said to Moses, ‘Pharaoh will not heed you, so that My wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.’ ” Exodus 11:9 (NKJV)
Similarly, when we study other areas of Scripture, we see the same pattern manifest for prophecy is cyclical relating to many different eras and many different souls. When adversity attacked Job and his household, which we can read about in the Book of Job, we see God was in control and ordained it all so that Job could be tested, Satan could be defeated, and God’s justice be known. For in the end, Job was blessed far more when it was all said in done. When the Southern Kingdom of Judah was taken captive by the Babylonians, Scripture reveals yet again, God was orchestrating it all by using the King of Babylon being Nebuchadnezzar and later King Cyrus of Persia (Jeremiah 27:6, 43:10; Isaiah 44:28, 45:1) to make His holiness and justice known to primarily His people of Israel, but also those around them (Jeremiah 29-31, 32:37-42; Ezra 1:1-2:1).
Likewise, prophecy reveals in the last days, another Pharaoh or Nebuchadnezzar type of leader will arise taking God’s people captive once again while killing too many to count (Daniel 7-12; Matthew 24:21-22; 2nd Thessalonians 2:1-12; Revelation 12:13-13:18,17:17). But like all the incidents before, upon rescuing and resurrecting His people in those final days, Scripture tells us God allowed it to hallow Himself before His people and the nations (Ezekiel 36:23,32-38; 38:16).
“Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!” Psalm 105:1 (NKJV)
Today, as you take inventory of your own personal circumstances, I invite you to reflect on how could God being using your circumstances to make Himself known to you and those around you.
Carrie R. Turner, January 31, 2020